Today most manufacturing industries face a common problem – high noise. High noise levels, particularly those of short duration are quite common and they can be attributed to things like impulse or impact noise. This is quite common in fabrication workshops and production plants, thereby causing damage to hearing. Noises due to trucks, cranes, drilling etc., that operate in construction sites also contribute to high noise pollution in the manufacturing sector.
However, any noise loud enough to interfere with conversation has the potential to cause hearing loss. Noise hazard itself has been categorized as – Impact noise (such as gunshot or explosion); Continuous noise (machinery running constantly); and Intermittent noise (such as a passing heavy vehicle).
In 2006, legislation was passed in the EU to make hearing protection mandatory for any worker exposed to 85dB (A) or above, not just industrial workers. So, for mandatory reasons and to ensure hearing protection, hearing aids were introduced to protect workers and managers who spend a large part of their working time in the production line.
Traditional hearing protection products serve particular classes of noise and often a number of hearing protectors have been needed for different noise hazards. Hearing aids are usually traditionally designed to be behind the ear aids. But these can be useful only to those who stay in a closed environment and work closely with their counterparts.
To address noise induced hearing loss in manufacturing sector, companies need to consider using technology aided ear plugs or earmuffs. These modern hearing aids not only provide hearing protection; they also provide new and advanced features, which are listed below.
They allow communication in environments above 85 dB (A).
They provide protection against all forms of noise – Impact, Intermittent, Continuous.
They aid workers to safely hear the surroundings whilst also hearing speech.
They help the use to hear the direction of speech and other sounds.
They facilitate face to face communication and prevent high noise communication as well.
Fancy features include – MP3 Interface, Replaceable Ear tips, High Visibility Color, 12+ hours continuous talk time etc.
Most of these hi-tech earmuffs and earplugs are industrial ruggedized in nature.
There may also be provision for two-way radio interface
Some super-hi-tech hearing aids offer Wireless Bluetooth® connection to cellular phones and other Bluetooth® devices.
The new and advanced features of new-age hearing aids such as ear muffs and earplugs is a major boost for the safety and communication needs of the manufacturing industry. Starting from line workers to production assistants and senior managers, these aids address all hearing protection issues and enables clear audible speech while wearing optimum industrial hearing protection.
Manufacturing companies who have a policy for human resources development should definitely consider using these simple, yet hi-tech aids for the benefit of their employees.
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